Congratulations to Thomas Tuchel, who today has been named the UEFA Men’s Coach of the Year following his sensational start to life at Chelsea!
Tuchel beat off competition from Pep Guardiola and Roberto Mancini in a poll of leading managers and journalists from around the continent, with every coach in charge of teams competing in last season’s Champions League and Europa League, as well as Euro 2020, having a vote.
‘It’s like a dream,’ said Tuchel on receiving the award.
‘I never thought about reaching these heights when I started coaching, so it’s simply amazing. It feels a bit surreal, but we are absolutely delighted.
‘Like always it is a team effort in football, so I take it on behalf of my whole staff, and everybody who works hard at Cobham every day to push the team to the limits.’
Tuchel arrived at Stamford Bridge in late January and quickly transformed the side, most notably defensively. His preference for a 3-4-3 shape offered us extra protection at the back and made the most of the skill and speed of our attacking players.
We conceded just two goals in his first 10 league games in charge, beating Tottenham and Liverpool away in that period as well as impressively despatching Atletico Madrid 3-0 on aggregate in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Tuchel masterminded further European knockout success, against Porto and then Real Madrid, and also guided us to a top-four finish and an FA Cup final.
However, it was in the Champions League that Tuchel and Chelsea’s star had burned brightest, and that continued on a glorious night in Porto that will never be forgotten by Blues fans.
Kai Havertz’s goal earned us a third consecutive victory under Tuchel over runaway title winners Man City, and in the process secured us European football’s elite prize for the second time in our history.
Tuchel unquestionably won the tactical battle on the touchline that night, with his use of Havertz in a central striking role and Timo Werner out wide proving decisive. Defensively we remained assured, limiting Man City to very few openings, and Tuchel finished his first half-season in charge of the Blues with just two goals conceded in seven Champions League outings. Both of those were spectacular volleys in ultimately comfortable aggregate victories.
As well as building a formidable collective unit, Tuchel has also got the best out of so many members of his talented squad, not least UEFA Men’s Player of the Year Jorginho and UEFA Midfielder of the Year N’Golo Kante.
The boss will be presented with his award at Stamford Bridge next month. Many congratulations, Thomas!